Dave Weinand
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Wed, May 22, '2024

Blue Yonder ICON - Can the Vision Become Reality?

Blue Yonder ICON in Dallas highlights ongoing vision and AI advancements in their supply chain operating system.

BY Icon 2024 Blog by Dave-1

Last week, some of the Incisiv team attended the Blue Yonder ICON event in Dallas, TX.  In my opinion, this was the best of the last three ICONs I’ve attended (and it’s not only because this is the first where I didn’t contract COVID and it’s not based on the fact that it wasn’t in Vegas this year - although that helped….).

What I found particularly encouraging is that the Blue Yonder leadership successfully articulated the continuation and progress of the vision laid out in 2023. I’ve been to enough user conferences where I’ve seen a year-on-year shift in strategy. This creates confusion with clients and with the internal teams. In 2023, Blue Yonder CEO, Duncan Angove, laid out a plan to use the might of parent Panasonic to invest in migrating all of their applications into Snowflake’s Data Cloud to create what he deemed a Supply Chain Operating System. 

Conceptually, the idea of having all supply chain applications (OMS, Planning, TMS, WMS + + ) running on a common data set provides multiple advantages, including enhancing speed of rollout and better internal collaboration. Historically, the knock on Blue Yonder was that it was a roll-up, with acquisitions making up the bulk of the portfolio - making integration difficult. The Supply Chain Operating System concept goes a long way to eliminate that problem. That said, the last twelve months have been active for Blue Yonder in terms of acquisitions. With Doddle (returns), Flexis (planning/scheduling), and the ‘intent to buy’ One Network - it will take time to pull these into the ‘operating system’ as they define it.  

Technology marches forward, and as we know, the last twelve months have been akin to a bullet train with the advancements in AI. As with any tech conference in 2024, there was a lot of AI and GenAI talk all around. The team was able to successfully communicate how AI is being integrated into the supply chain operating system concept. With over 70 patents in AI, Blue Yonder stated that they are processing over 10 Billion AI Inquiries a day and are addressing one of GenAI’s weaknesses, complex math, by combining it with a super calculator in what they deem the BY Orchestrator.

To fully execute this vision will not be without its challenges, and it will not be overnight. The vast majority of retailers, manufacturers, and logistics service providers are operating on a multitude of solutions that are meshed together by brute force. Very few will have the budget to rip and replace these solutions in one fell swoop. Their strategy will have to be to expand inside their current customer base and, for new customers, lay a clear vision roadmap for the end state of a supply chain operating system. In addition, where Blue Yonder stands to win is by being a meaningful resource to guide customers through the change management required to think from a platform perspective. Silos must be broken down, KPIs must be altered. This was discussed in a few sessions, so it is definitely on their mind.   

It was good to hear that the Blue Yonder team is sticking to its vision. I’m looking forward to seeing how the next 12 months progress.